To blurb or not to blurb

I have a question for my fellow writers, do you think blurbs are a profitable or necessary marketing strategy?

When I was working with a friend to possibly publish a book (the book is on the back burner heating up the back of my mind these days), I was thrown into the world of blurbs.  One author I messaged to ask about a blurb said he was just reaching a decision not to do blurbs any more.

I read blurbs on the backs (and sometimes fronts) of books out of curiosity.  Often the blurbs are by people I don’t know or have neutral feelings about; therefore, I don’t notice them affecting my ideas about the book before I read it.  I remember one book I was about to read had a blurb by someone I know of and dislike.  I hesitated but not for long.  Some books have blurbs by people I like and respect.  However, I want to form my own opinion about the books I read.

As I get more active with my writing, I am thinking about the logistics of book publication.  When the time comes, should I use blurbs?

A 2012 Time article in the Business sections says:  “A blurb from a high-profile author increases the odds of a book winding up in a bookstore, perhaps even in a prominent ‘staff pick’ position. But do blurbs actually boost sales? The scant research that’s been conducted on the topic indicates they have little to no influence on buyers’ decisions. A 2012 Bowker Market Research study shows that just 6% of consumers become aware of the books they buy through jacket covers or testimonials. Other ‘evidence’ of blurbs’ effectiveness is mostly anecdotal.”

If blurbs are the new-ish standard marketing tool pushed by the publishing industry, shouldn’t there be more research into whether they actually work?


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